Skyroot: The private firms helping India aim high in space

Skyroot:-A six-minute flight by a test rocket carrying three mock payloads made history on Friday in a nation that places dozens of satellites in space every year—it was India’s first private space mission.

Space startup Skyroot Aerospace launched its maiden demonstrator mission at 11.30 am from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.

The Vikram-S rocket soared to a distance of 89.5km from Earth before splashing into the Bay of Bengal just after 11:36am. The suborbital mission, named Prarambh (beginnings), was a success.

“Mission Prarambh is successfully accomplished. Congratulations SkyrootA, Congratulations India!” tweeted the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro).

The mission was a technology demonstrator, typically the initial space mission conducted in the lead up to an actual flight.

The Skyroot mission was enabled by India’s draft space communications policy, which opened up the domestic space sector to private firms. The Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre (In-Space), a nodal authorization body under the government’s department of space (DoS), authorized Skyroot to conduct the launch mission. Isro offered its facilities under a transfer of technology clause that is expected to be part of India’s eventual space policy.

Industry stakeholders said the success of Skyroot’s mission would help validate India’s fledgling private space sector. Anil Kumar Bhatt, director general of industry body Indian Space Association, said the launch will “validate most of the technologies in the Vikram series of space launch vehicles planned by Skyroot in the coming years.”

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